In George Orwell's novel 1984 the ruling Party is creating a "new version" of English, called Newspeak, which focuses on removing any and all parts of the language which can be used to express any opinion, idea or concept which the Party does not agree with. The purpose of Newspeak is to counter rebellion, and is based on the idea that "if you cannot put it into words, you cannot contemplate it".

I'm wondering if this would actually be the case in real life. Would a human who does not have the language capabilities to express/describe the idea of "I don't like the goverment, something should be done against it" also be unable to truly work out/understand that idea itself within their own head?

  • $\begingroup$ This is an excellent question. I suspect intuitively that it is true : "if you can't say it, you can't think it" but I'm basing that on my personal experience working with disabled children and speaking a foreign language. I also see the opposite being used as policy by governments with terms such as "extraordinary rendition" and "collateral damage" being inserted into the language to change the negative impact of the policy on public opinion. It's possible that comparative studies on different language vocabularies might help answer this. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Ryan
    Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @KevinRyan It's also possible that you would end up simply unable to put your feelings into words, though this would probably be enough for the Party since you couldn't share those feelings with others, so no rebellion can be organized $\endgroup$
    – Anju Maaka
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 6:20